Tommy Hilfiger is the designer of the American preppy par excellence, the one who has been able to sell the practical and casual elegance of which the wealthy Americans are masters. It is no coincidence that the most skilled at selling Americans a dream of style has a difficult biography, made up of a poor childhood and continuous failures and ups and downs. It is a story of second and third occasions as they like overseas. Here, we will discover the Tommy Hilfiger net worth, biography and more about his brand.
The ingenuity and ability to grasp the fashions of the time are what makes Tommy a true stylist, rather than a simple businessman. Today that flair has led him to collaborate with supermodels like Gigi Hadid or sports champions like Lewis Hamilton. In an attempt to grow a global brand purchased mainly for jeans, t-shirts and shirts. Here is his story of a self-made man.
Tommy Hilfiger net worth and biography
Thomas Jacob Hilfiger was born on March 24, 1951, in Elmira, a small town in the state of New York. Tommy, as friends call him, is the second of nine siblings and comes from an Irish Catholic family with modest financial resources. This pushes him to want to make himself independent from a very young age so as not to burden his own family. At just nine years of age he already offers himself for small jobs like cutting the lawn of the neighbors. Then, slightly larger, he starts working as a warehouse worker and gas station.
In 1969, to pay for his holidays, Tommy went to work as a shop assistant in a hippy clothing store in Cape Cod, New England. Here the transformation took place: on his return the hair was long, he wore sandals and bell-bottoms.
Tommy Hilfiger’s net worth is about 450 million dollars and he earned a lot from the fabric and fashion industry. In the years of Woodstock, the Vietnam War, Jimi Hendrix and the Doors, Hilfiger feels ready for great things. So, together with two school friends, he gets aboard his old Volkswagen and drives to New York to buy stocks of jeans bell-bottoms and then resell them, on the hood of his car, to the students of his city. Success is immediate.
The first Hilfiger shop
At just 18 years old, with $ 150 in his wallet and 20 pairs of jeans to sell. Tommy is ready to open his first store: People’s Place. A unique place of its kind, with black walls, incense continuously spread in the air, the music shot and the concerts inside the shop that offer an experience that surpasses the sale of simple clothes. After only a year, the store comes to bill a million dollars, in a crescendo difficult to keep at bay: “We weren’t far-sighted, we spent too much. We weren’t focused on business but only on the product. We went bankrupt, but there I learned my first business lesson”. In a short time the competition becomes ruthless. People’s Place is forced to close its doors.
The birth of the brand
In New York life after People’s Place is not the brightest, at least initially. Tommy Hilfiger is hired as a designer for some brands, but collaborations always end up being short and disappointing. He himself founds a couple of brands but these too do not have the success hoped for. In the moment of greatest need for stability, that is when his first daughter is born, Tommy is offered a place by Calvin Klein, a label that has already taken off at the time. The occasion is tempting, accepting is a duty.
Hilfiger bites his tongue and refuses, his dream is to found a company that bears his name. You know, luck helps the daring and karma put on the road of the ambitious designer Mohan Murjani, an Indian investor who is looking for a young designer to launch a sportswear line. The financier will be the owner of the company, but the name will be that of Hilfiger. Thus, in 1985 the first collection featuring the nautical-inspired logo was born.
The preppy and casual style of Americans
Tommy Hilfiger wants to focus everything on the classic American style, revisiting the preppy of the 50s. A way that is not entirely unspoken, since other brands, such as Ralph Lauren, already and Calvin Klein, traveled from there and with enormous success. It is urgent to try. Or pay someone to do it. At the modest sum of 160 thousand dollars, the advertising star George Lois is enlisted, who invents an advertisement destined to become a case study and one of the most cited examples of marketing among professionals.
A simple billboard, programmed to be hung in Times Square in New York, with the words: “The four great American designers for men’s fashion are: RL, PE, CK and TH”. If the American public could easily complete the names of the top three (Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein), the latter was almost unknown.
On the bottom, the Hilfiger logo is accompanied by an explanation: “In most families, the first three names are familiar words. Be ready to add another. His name (clue) is Tommy. The surname is not so simple but in a few months, everyone in America will know that there is a new look in the city and a new name on it. Tommy’s clothes are easygoing without being casual, classic without being predictable. He defines them as classic with an invention. three designers call them competition “. The fury of the defendants is unleashed, but in just eleven months the collection collects $ 11 million.
Hilfiger’s failure and rebirth
Success is often made of ups and downs. And this is more true than ever in Tommy Hilfiger’s story. Again under the guise of a comet star, after only three years the business with Murjani fails. Tommy does not give up, looks for and finds a new investor. The Chinese Silas Chou with whom he founds a company of which he manages to own 22.5%. The star starts again with energy and in 1988 it reached 28 million in turnover, 50 million the following year up to 100 million in 1990. In 1992 the company was listed on the stock exchange and in 1995 Hilfiger’s salary was 6 million dollars.